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Today’s Customer Service not “Friendly,” but Annoying

today's customer service21st-century modern annoyances. There are many that accost our psyche. One modern-day annoyance is so called “customer service.” Customer service used to be “friendly” (or, at least that was the stated goal). But now, more than ever, it is an absolute PITA…not the kind you eat.

Company heads, please take note: Shopping in stores; or calling a business, government or doctor’s office is no longer pleasurable. Here are fifteen of what I find to be modern-day annoyances:

Automated answering. The menus and automatic disclaimers; the caveats, and options. Push this; push that. If another language, push another. We have to listen to four or five “menu options” only to get to yet another distasteful “menu.” Can I just speak to a human being, please? Will we ever return to “Good morning. Dr. X’s office. This is Mary. How may I help you?” One, two, three, done.

Voice mail answering services. Yes, I still have, and love, a land line; and voice mail is a great convenience. But the technology to leave a voice mail has been around for over 30 years now. We know how to use it. After the person’s greeting, etc., just have the “beep.” Do we really still need to hear “at the sound of the tone, leave your message, when you have finished…” It is that delay that makes voice mail annoying. We know how it works; let’s get to it.

Extra-long receipts for purchases. Even if you buy just one or two items, the receipt is approximately eighteen inches long in order to inform that you can enter a survey, perhaps win a prize, or to ask how the service was at checkout. I thought folks want to save trees? Not all of us live in our phones; many of us still want a paper receipt. A receipt for two items should only be four-to-five inches, with store info and transactional information. [Extra inches of penis? Hey! Extra long paper receipts? No thanks.]

“May I have your email address? Your phone number?” No, you may not. What you can do is please ring up my purchases; take my cash or credit card, give me the change or receipt, and serve the next customer. And if I say “no,” don’t look at me as if I cursed your mother, nor proceed to tell me why giving you my information is beneficial to me. I kindly said “no”; why do you feel you need to further coerce me to do something I already told you I do not want to do: give you my personal information. Ring me up. Take my cash. We each say “thank you”; I leave. You’re on to the next customer.

“You just saved [X] dollars!” After turning over your credit card or cash for items purchased, sales clerks look you straight in the face and say, “you just saved [$42.35]!!” Uh…no you didn’t. You just spent $182.76.

Grocery stores. You get in line. They ring up your groceries. As you pay for your purchase, you’re solicited for this or that charity. Every day.

Doctor’s offices. For all the time it takes to get through the menus, if a human had answered in the first place, you could have already gotten to them, spoken and your questions likely would have been answered. I also don’t like that patients have to, in most offices today, pay even before being seen in the doctor’s office. It just seems rude to me.

Don’t text me to say my “bill is coming” or you “received my payment.” Do people really need a prompt from companies to let us know that our bill is being sent, or that the company recieved our payment? Bills come on a regular schedule; I don’t need one more beep/text for that reason. Let me know if you don’t receive my payment; and certainly don’t text me with digits from my credit card number in your text!!!!  [Are you listening, T-Mobile? Can you hear me now?]

Entering a store. Maybe this is a “southern hospitality” thing, but before I even release the door handle and/or get my second foot across the threshold, a clerk basically yells “Hello-o-o, welcome to ___[store name]___!!!”

I understand they are to be friendly; but can I first get in the store, and within ear shot of you before you speak to—uh, yell at—me? Also clerks automatically begin to tell you about a sale on this or that; what’s new and pretty; and to ask what am I looking for.

Maybe I just want a quiet day, to browse; to look…in peace and quiet? Your yelling at me is not going to cause me to want to stay in your store. I know a sales clerk is there; if I need your help, or am looking for something specific, I’ll seek you and your service.

The fake, hi-pitched customer service “voice”. The ‘goo-goo-gaa-gaa’ hi-pitched (and now nasal) voice! Grrrrr. Stop it. Just stop it. Be friendly, not fake.

Fabric stores. Do I really need to tell you what I’m planning to make with the fabric?

Assuming it’s “Mrs.” What if I’m traveling with my husband but only use my maiden name for my professional activities? I’m not “Mrs.” [maiden name]. Did I tell you I’m a “Mrs.”? What if I never married, or  just got divorced? Hearing “Mrs” might trigger some deep-seated pain. [And while I don’t push it, if my account has “Dr.” on it, how did it get converted to “Mrs.” or “Ms.”? I may use my professional title for some transactions and not for others. Respect the customer’s choices.]

Loss of Writing “Elements of Style.” We Irish and Scottish, Unite! As a “Mc-something”—in my instance, “McCloud”—it has become stunning/off-putting to see my name not as it should appear.

My last name is “McCloud,” not “Mccloud” or “MCCLOUD.” Even if I enter it correctly, people no longer take care to enter it properly. And with computer formatting, many systems won’t let you correct their input error. My name should appear as it is, not reformatted to something it is not. I have recently resumed telling people “M-c—capital C….”, so it will be inputted in its proper style…not that it is always done.

Also, why put a space between the “Mc” and the next letter? It causes delay when you can’t find my name when, yes, I’m spelling it correctly. Stop with the space between letters, unless offered that way.

Post-service evaluations. Car repair. Online help. Pick a service. You call for tech support or take your car in for service, only to soon receive in your email or by phone, a “customer service evaluation” survey. YOU might have provided your email address to receive your shipping tracking, or to confirm your order, not to get bombarded with surveys and sales pitches. If I didn’t say you could use my email or phone for that purpose, stay out of my box.

When eating solo, you hear, “Just one?” Not “just”; it’s “one for lunch. Thank you.”

Other modern-day aggravations include the inability to watch a TV show, movie or even a commercial without some story line promoting people so confused about who they are or choose to be; also wimpy, whiny spoiled kids (even whiny adults).

But my main pet peeve these days is people texting and driving, and not being able to do ANYTHING without their phones in their hands! I say “Head UP Just Drive!” I have that domain. “Driving is NOT a social activity.” See PsychCentral:

I’ll stop here. I just needed to vent. Do tell me some of what you find to be modern-day annoyances…and please tell me what we can do about mitigating some of them. Be kind to each other.

Copyright © 2016 Dr. Melody T. McCloud. All rights reserved. Feel free to share this post on your social network pages, with author credit and link to this page. Bitly: . @DrMelodyMcCloud

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Today’s Customer Service not “Friendly,” but Annoying

Melody T. McCloud, MD

Dr. Melody T. McCloud is a trailblazing obstetrician/gynecologist, author, public speaker and media contributor. She has received many awards including the "Health-Care Heroes ‘Physician’ Award” per the Atlanta Business Chronicle, and is also recognized as one of the “25 Most Influential Doctors in Atlanta." Dr. McCloud has been interviewed on CNN, Headline News, network affiliates, TBN, the Tom Joyner Morning Show; and her writings or comments have been printed in USA Today, Parade, Essence, Family Circle, Health, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and more. She hosts a health blog at Psychology Today and, upon invitation, speaks nationwide to many organizations. She is a member of the Atlanta Press Club and many leadership organizations.

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APA Reference
McCloud, M. (2016). Today’s Customer Service not “Friendly,” but Annoying. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 17, 2019, from


Last updated: 16 Apr 2016
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